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Background: The United States is witnessing a demographic shift in that the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060; the percentage of the 65 and older age group will increase from 16 % to 23 % (Administration for Community Living, 2018). In this ever-growing population, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) 2018 survey found that 76% of Americans over the age of 50 would prefer to remain in their current residence and 77% would like to continue living in their community as long as possible; however, 59% foresee that they will be able to stay in their community, either in their current home (46%) or a different home within their community (13%) (Binette & Vasold, 2019).

Problem Statement: As of 2022, there is limited aging in place (AIP) programming that addressed the varying needs of rural seniors and their QOL.

Purpose: To evaluate the needs of rural older adults residing in Crowley County, Colorado to create an AIP program that is tailored to their specific needs and context, and to create a manual that provides a structure for a therapist that wishes to create their own AIP program in their desired location. The created program includes 5 modules (technology supporting AIP, occupations as a means, community mobility: transportation and occupation in rural communities, lifestyle impact on health, home modifications to enhance accessibility to occupations) that were included per the results of surveys, interviews, and a literature review.

Conclusion: Occupational therapists have the knowledge and skillset required to create both efficacious and cost-effective telehealth programs in rural communities. This program can be readily modified to fit the unique demographics of a chosen population. There is much work to be done to ensure equity regarding aging, one viable option to accomplish this aim is to use telehealth programming.

Publication Date

Summer 8-11-2022


University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences


aging in place, telehealth, older adults, rural

Medical Subject Headings

Independent Living, Rural Population, Quality of Life, Telemedicine, Occupational Therapy, Colorado, Humans


Geriatrics | Occupational Therapy


Poster presented at the Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences August 5-11, 2022.

Supporting Rural Seniors Aging in Place Using Telehealth



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